I often wonder what my life would have been like, if I could peek at another other than this one I have. I wonder whether it’s really possible to create your own destiny as commonly said,or is it all just a load of rubbish?
They say that if one wished hard enough for something that it may just come true right? How come it is that I always wake up in this crazy wonderful circus that is my life?
The most wonderful thing happened to me a few years back; I finally got married! After living in sin for 18 years and 7 awesome kids to show for it, we finally did it right. This involved a long aged tradition of IGBANKWU….Wine Carrying in English, and yes! You literally really do carry the wine.
In my culture, it’s the big Kahuna of all ceremonies in the nuptial department that is. What took us so long you ask? It’s a really long story but I will try to sum it up. The spiritual part of me sums it up to fate, because no body would consciously make the choice to subject themselves and their loved ones to the ridicule and insults we eventually began to receive. There are consequences when a man fails to honor traditions, especially in a family such as as mine.
Life has a funny way of switching on you, and you soon begin to understand that there’s something bigger than you here in control. Circumstances and situations beyond your control force and make you realize and acknowledge that you really have no choices but to heed where it leads. We went from being the respectable couple one minute, to the disgrace of the family, back in my home town. After many years of waiting and 7 children later, the situation had become scandalous and the whispers of “alu emee” was a little too much to stomach. The final straw was when an elderly uncle referred to our kids as “UMU IGBO” , we knew we had to help my poor mother save face……something had to be done and quickly.
Now we come to the fun part…..as this grand decision was being made, the couple in question being “us”, were on ground zero in the finance department. As mentioned earlier, fate is a great decider of things but before I reveal just how we managed to pull this off, I will take you back some years……a decade and some years to be exact. This will help you get better acquainted with me and my wonderful world.
I grew up with my husband Tobe, we went to high school together. After graduating, I left Nigeria for the U.S. I was 16 , naive and full of the most awesome dreams. I settled into life in the U.S. easily because I had siblings already here, and university was fun. A year in Texas was all I could handle and as soon as I was able to convince my older sisters about moving to New York City, I moved in with my uncle in the fall of 1987. New York was everything I had expected it to be, and I soon enrolled in Fordham College, got a part time job in a restaurant in Manhattan and my life was traveling between the Bronx where we lived and work in Manhattan.
Life was good, my uncle was the best and I loved living in the Bronx. The diverse cultural mixture was what did it for me….we had Puerto Ricans, African Americans, Africans, West Indians and every other race. I was enjoying both work and school and thought what a great decision I had made coming here, when that thing Fate….came calling again. A family member blew into town and I had to leave town quickly again…this woman was trouble with a capital T.
Thanks to my uncle and the little money I had managed to save, I got a cheap fare on Delta Airlines, called the midnight express back in the day; and found myself back in Houston again; after just two semesters of school.
Things had changed in Houston; my sisters had moved into a smaller apartment so I had to share a room with my older sister; and had to get a job. This meant I stopped school for some time. In a way I was glad really, I had never really been big on institutionalized learning…..long story. I got work in Target and had to catch the metro which was not good at all. A beggar has no choice so I got with the program .I had not been in touch with my life or friends back home for almost two years and I often wondered what became of them, especially Tobe.
One day I got a call in the evening and the static was so bad, I immediately knew it was a call from home and as I strained to make sense of what was being said to me, I soon realized that it was Tobe, my dear friend whom I had been wondering about just a few days earlier. We reminisced and after catching up on old times, I then found out that he too left the country for London a year after me, working and schooling as well.
We talked for along time and though it was emotional, I was still glad to hear from him; I had forgotten how smitten he had been with me all those years ago. I used to always laugh at him and ask “what exactly could you possibly know about love” and he would look so sad and wounded……that look would always haunt me later in the night and I would feel bad for causing him pain.
To say that reconnecting with Tobe was something good would be an understatement, it was great! Soon it was as though we never even left the country or parted ways. Back then telecommunication was an expensive venture, and we both spent plenty money on it. We talked about everything, love, God, Religion, abuse, politics, sex…etc you name it, we talked about it. Everything was as before and we each carried on with our lives. Tobe was my best friend….he was the one I called when I had good news, and the one for the not so good. Even though my sisters had not met him, they felt like they already knew him….God knows they talked to him enough!
Houston also started being good to me……I got a nice boyfriend who simply adored me. and Tobe initially silent when I told him about Pete, after some time was back to his usual self again. He would even advise me when Pete and I had a fight, and they got to know each other over the phone.
Pete was my first love and soon after my 20th birthday, he became my first lover. As always, fate had another plan for me and it came in the way of me falling pregnant not too long after sex began. My perfect world came crashing down all over again. At first I was frightened, and gradually my fears turned to curiosity. I spent about four and a half months on the curiosity boulevard before moving on to anxiety close. At this time, I was putting on a little weight and my sisters commented on it……it was then that I told them. They must have cried for days….they were both terrified at what our father’s reaction would be.